China rejected 600,000 T U.S.corn since mid-Nov -JCI

BEIJING Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:20am EST

BEIJING Dec 18 (Reuters) - China, the world's second largest consumer of corn, has rejected more than 10 cargoes of the grain from the United States since mid-November, after tests showed an unapproved gene-modified strain, an influential agricultural consultancy said.

That figure, equivalent to about 600,000 tonnes, was six cargoes more than the number confirmed by China's quarantine authorities by last week, private firm JC Intelligence Co. Ltd (JCI) said in a report seen on Wednesday.

Traders had expected more rejections as quarantine authorities step up testing for MIR 162, a genetically-modified strain of corn developed by Syngenta AG.

State quarantine officials declined immediate comment.

The United States has urged China to act promptly to approve the strain, with high-level talks between the two sides scheduled in Beijing this week.

"The rejections hurt (imports) a lot. Whether there are more rejections depend on this week's talks," said Li Qiang, chief analyst with JCI.

Li said nearly 40 cargoes had already arrived in China since the middle of November, more than half of which had passed the tests.

The rejections followed a glut after a record domestic corn harvest. Beijing is trying to shore up China's corn prices to help farmers. (Reporting by Niu Shuping and Dominique Patton; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)